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Date: 08/10/19 11:05
Solving the Amtrak Conundrum
Author: Duna

Presented graphically, US passenger-miles by mode. Yow.

Note article contains factual data with citations.

http://ti.org/antiplanner/?p=16329

Chart caption:
American traveled an average of more than 18,000 miles in 2017, of which Amtrak contributed just 20. To make Amtrak visible, I had to make this chart extraordinarily tall. *Bus column excludes transit buses, which are included in urban transit. Non-commercial air and a few other minor modes are not shown.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 08/10/19 11:57 by Duna.




Date: 08/10/19 11:45
Re: Solving the Amtrak Conundrum
Author: bluesboyst

I love how the graphs never explain what the numbers are!!!!!   So what does 1000 = ?   1 billion?



Date: 08/10/19 11:55
Re: Solving the Amtrak Conundrum
Author: MEKoch

Since we have allowed General Motors and oil companies and airlines to do our transportation planning, the results shown are not surprising.  Since we think 40,000 deaths per year, plus a million injuries is the "cost of doing business", we should not be surprised.  Since 90 year olds are still driving cars.............



Date: 08/10/19 11:58
Re: Solving the Amtrak Conundrum
Author: Duna

bluesboyst Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I love how the graphs never explain what the
> numbers are!!!!!   So what does 1000 = ?   1
> billion?



I left out the chart caption, thanks. Now fixed.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/10/19 11:59 by Duna.



Date: 08/10/19 12:07
Re: Solving the Amtrak Conundrum
Author: IC_2024

MEKoch Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Since we have allowed General Motors and oil
> companies and airlines to do our transportation
> planning, the results shown are not surprising. 
> Since we think 40,000 deaths per year, plus a
> million injuries is the "cost of doing business",
> we should not be surprised.  Since 90 year olds
> are still driving cars.............

Not to mention the gridlock of everyday travel on an aging Interstate system that most people accept w/ silent resignation...

It’s a little late for “catch-up” too, since the developers keep building along these arteries in an attempt to keep up w/ a burgeoning population. When they finally turn to mass transit, it’s another in a series of foul-ups, bleeps and blunders... I know firsthand, as I’ve had my car broken into twice now from a transit parking lot within 3 months now!



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/10/19 12:08 by IC_2024.



Date: 08/10/19 12:08
Re: Solving the Amtrak Conundrum
Author: SP4360

This should make you very excited.



Date: 08/10/19 12:19
Re: Solving the Amtrak Conundrum
Author: Lackawanna484

I'm surprised by the relationship of Amtrak to commercial airlines.  Amtrak carries many more passengers than the airlines between Washington DC and New York City.  That's a large population, but relatively small number of travel miles (about 250).  Many more people travel between NYC and Seattle, Los Angeles, etc by air than by Amtrak, which drives up the "miles" in the calculation.

Is Amtrak's transcontinental passenger count more than a thousand people (6 x 737 aircraft) each week?



Date: 08/10/19 12:41
Re: Solving the Amtrak Conundrum
Author: Lurch_in_ABQ

People prefer walking or riding a bicycle to taking Amtrak.



Date: 08/10/19 13:05
Re: Solving the Amtrak Conundrum
Author: irhoghead

If this graph analyzed direct comparisons between the city pairs that Amtrak actually served, it might be somewhat meaningful. As it is, comparing Amtrak to all travel, it is pretty much useless. It is akin to a public transit use study in rural America that is trying to bash public transit. "Between Podunk and Hooterville, public transit use is zero, while private vehicle travel is 100%." What they fail to tell you is that there is no public transit available there. Graphs like this can be skewed so easily, depending on how you want to make something look.



Date: 08/10/19 13:11
Re: Solving the Amtrak Conundrum
Author: Duna

Read the report, your points are addressed.  And more.

Possible causes (like no trains to X or no air service to Y) are not the focus of the report. It's simply a report on what is.

Causes are a different story, lots of speculation on TO.

The data is valid and useful. It is what it is.

 



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/10/19 13:17 by Duna.



Date: 08/10/19 13:27
Re: Solving the Amtrak Conundrum
Author: Duna

Read my response, above.

The report (of which the graph is only a part) just describes the situation as it is.

Possible causes of low rail mode-share are irrelevant to the report. Aka "Not A Part".



Date: 08/10/19 14:00
Re: Solving the Amtrak Conundrum
Author: ColdRainAndSnow

The "Antiplanner" is Randal O'Toole. A Cato Institute shill whose anti-rail reputation preceding him is large enough to see from space. A review of his most recent book reminds us...

Mr. O’Toole does not claim to possess a degree in economics or business, so his opinions on the subject must be considered those of a lay person, no matter how many quotes he uses to support his assertions. Not every work that looks like scholarship is truly scholarship. Mr. O’Toole did not publish his opinions in a peer-reviewed journal or with a well-known publisher. The Cato Institute publishes his opinions because they agree with each other.

https://www.railwayage.com/passenger/light-rail/book-review-an-anti-passenger-rail-manifesto/

That "Duna" is an O'Toole sycophant may be the most unremarkable thing I've heard all week.

As always, consider sources. In this case, a shill employed by a Koch-brother founded "think tank" that itself has an anti-Amtrak bias that spans decades. Excellent work, "Duna."



Date: 08/10/19 14:15
Re: Solving the Amtrak Conundrum
Author: JohnM

The moment I saw the graph this morning, I knew it would generate the usual comments.  We keep traveling around in circles.  That being said, I enjoy reading everyone’s comments both positive and negative.....

Question, how many times on this board has it been posted about the airline and highway lobby and their influence on transportation?

  Right now I’m sitting in Cajon Pass watching America’s commerce on he move......drove on those evil socialized highways that I love.  



Date: 08/10/19 14:20
Re: Solving the Amtrak Conundrum
Author: irhoghead

Duna Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Read the report, your points are addressed.  And
> more.
>
> Possible causes (like no trains to X or no air
> service to Y) are not the focus of the report.
> It's simply a report on what is.
>
> Causes are a different story, lots of speculation
> on TO.
>
> The data is valid and useful. It is what it is.
>
>

I read the report, and I stand by my earlier post. The exclusion of possible causes, like you mention, proves its dubiousness. This report's data is valid and useful for whom, exactly? If I would have presented a report and graph like this in one of my business classes, essentially comparing apples to oranges, I highly doubt my professors would have been amused.



Date: 08/10/19 14:49
Re: Solving the Amtrak Conundrum
Author: ATSF3751

MEKoch Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Since we have allowed General Motors and oil
> companies and airlines to do our transportation
> planning, the results shown are not surprising. 
> Since we think 40,000 deaths per year, plus a
> million injuries is the "cost of doing business",
> we should not be surprised.  Since 90 year olds
> are still driving cars.............

Ok....but travel patterns are also the result of public demand. Had the public continued to demand stage coaches, I'm sure that need would have been met. 
Good or bad, the public choose the automobile as their primary mode of transportation. 



Date: 08/10/19 15:14
Re: Solving the Amtrak Conundrum
Author: inCHI

Ways I traveled in the last 7 days, doing what I needed to do within an urban area: rapid transit 11 times, 3 of which combined bus and rail, car twice, regional rail once, bike share once. For what I needed to do, those represented the best choice (to me) each trip. I'm glad I live in one of the few places in this country where I actually have those options to choose from. Knowing that a (vast?) majority of Americans live in a place where only one option is practical - driving - really helps explain why the graph looks that way. If other options were actually truly available... well, the results would be different.



Date: 08/10/19 15:17
Re: Solving the Amtrak Conundrum
Author: Duna

irhoghead Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------

> I read the report, and I stand by my earlier
> post. The exclusion of possible causes, like you
> mention, proves its dubiousness. This report's
> data is valid and useful for whom, exactly? If I
> would have presented a report and graph like this
> in one of my business classes, essentially
> comparing apples to oranges, I highly doubt my
> professors would have been amused.



"If I would have..." and "I highly doubt" = hypothetical.

As a a retired transportation planner (inc Amtrak) I don't have an issue with the data, analysis or presentation.

If you want to change/improve something, say, passenger rail transportation, you first need to accept the current situation. The future plans and implementation need to be based on a sound understanding of the facts. Not what we wish for or "could be". That's what this report does, it's mostly aggregating accepted figures and presenting them in an easily digestable manner. Nothing more, nothing less. It's not subjective or swayed by emotion or nostalgia. The popular saying "if you can't measure it, you can't change it" is true.



 



Date: 08/10/19 15:19
Re: Solving the Amtrak Conundrum
Author: Duna

inCHI Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Knowing that a
> (vast?) majority of Americans live in a place
> where only one option is practical - driving -
> really helps explain why the graph looks that way.
> If other options were actually truly available...
> well, the results would be different.



Exactly.



Date: 08/10/19 16:12
Re: Solving the Amtrak Conundrum
Author: WW

ATSF3751 Wrote:

> Good or bad, the public choose the automobile as
> their primary mode of transportation. 

Most Americans lost their "choice" between automobiles and passenger rail transportation in about 1960.  By then, the socialized, taxpayer-subsidized highway system had mostly exterminated private rail passenger service in the US.  Amtrak was handed nearly all of the tattered remains in 1971.  So, the rhetorical question:  Which mode of transpiration would you choose?  One where a substantial portion of the cost was levied on someone else--or carefully buried in your tax bill, or one where you had to pay the lion's share of the cost of using the service when you paid to ride it.  That was the "choice" that most Americans were given starting in the late 1920's and accelerating ever since, excepting when that nasty little World War II so constrained civilian gasoline supplies that unfettered travel wasn't possible.  Even then, many civilian Americans found it difficult to choose to use passenger rail because priority there was given to military personnel.  Besides, most American civilians in World War II didn't have time to think about going much of anywhere except to work--they were too busy working 6-7 days a week doing their part to make sure that we didn't become part of a Japanese or German dictatorship.

Americans' choice for ground passenger transportation for about three-quarters of a century now is pretty much akin to a one-party election where there really is no "choice"--government and the people just pretend that there is.



Date: 08/10/19 16:23
Re: Solving the Amtrak Conundrum
Author: Lackawanna484

Most Americans couldn't wait to escape the crowded, dirty cities in the late 1940s and 1950s.

Posted from Android



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